Each day, women are making an even bigger footprint on the world in the way of success, earnings, and philanthropy. Consider the fact that the number of female billionaires is at an all-time high. On the Forbes’ 2018 list of billionaires, 256 women made the list out of a total of 2,208 entries. Their collective worth is set to pass $1 trillion dollars.
So, what are women doing with this rise in income? Many are paying it forward in a big way by donating their fortunes. Forbes statistics show that women give almost twice as much of their wealth away as men, 3.5% versus 1.8% respectively. Who are some of these women?
Priscilla Chan, teacher, pediatrician, and wife of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is on the path to becoming one of the most important figures in U.S. philanthropy. She runs the day-to-day operations of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), an investment company she founded with her husband.
Their mission is to “advance human potential and promote equal opportunity”. Last year, three million dollars was donated to give students around the country free eye care and glasses. CZI has also pledged $3 billion dollars over the next decade to “cure all diseases” in the lifetime of their toddler daughter.
Melinda Gates, the wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, is the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which works to improve global health and education. The foundation donates $4 billion dollars a year to developing countries trying to end child mortality and improve education.
Another $500 million is donated to the United States. The foundation was recognized for giving its employees up to a year’s paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. President Barack Obama also recognized the Gates with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Melinda Gates is also involved with The Giving Pledge, which encourages billionaires to give the majority of their money to charity.
Gates and Chan are making their mark in three distinct areas of female philanthropic giving.
It is often noted that women work better in teams compared to men. The same is true in the area of philanthropy as women philanthropists are known for giving circles. Philanthropists come together and decide where their money can best be used. This often assures the money is given to the groups that will benefit the most. They also work with those who will benefit from the money to co-create solutions to solve the problem in front of them.
Giving to Women
What better way for female philanthropists to pay it forward than to give to other women? This can create a cycle of more women helping women in the future. An excellent example of women helping women is the TIME’s Up Legal Defense Fund. This was set up by women philanthropists to help address sexual assault, harassment, and inequality. The group has raised well over 22 million dollars in the less than one year that it has been operating.
Female philanthropists are very careful where they give their money and tend to lean towards impact investing. They want their money to help solve economic and social problems. Impact investing leaves its mark well after the dollars are spent.
The rise of female philanthropists is important because these women are reinventing the face of philanthropy. They are taking their earnings and giving to those groups who not only need the money but who also have the power to pay it forward. Their donation dollars don’t stop with a check, they continue to get a social return for years to come. Female philanthropists are gaining the respect they deserve as they help those in need and lead the way in giving back.